Leaving a Long-time Home is Overwhelming a Senior Relocation Specialist Can Help
Elaine Fernando gets it. For seniors, a late-life move from their long-time home is “tough stuff. It’s a transformation beyond bins, labels and organization,” she says. It’s moving their lives not just their things, and it often involves letting go of cherished belongings and the memories that accompany them.
Elaine, a senior move manager, was drawn to the field by her understanding that seniors need to have a sense of control when faced with such a huge life transition. Indeed, when she sits with a senior for an initial assessment, she encounters the full spectrum of emotions. These run the gamut from bitterness, anger, denial and sadness, especially when health reasons play a part as they often do—even when right-sizing, which may not always involve a move, comes into play.
“So much of what I do involves psychology and clear, human communication. My job is not simply to move individuals but to make them feel a part of the many decisions involved with the process and to bring them peace as they enter into their next life passage.”
Softening the transition is how Elaine describes it. “My first task is to help them sort through their things to determine what to keep and what to sell. Once the decluttering is completed, I sit with them and the floor plan of their new space, and we spec out how their belongings will fit into their new home.”
Decisions made with respect
Elaine says that a senior’s adult children are typically the points of contact, but she is adamant about working directly with the senior in transition even when adult children or a trustee are paying the bills. “This means if a senior desperately wants to keep one item for whatever reason, I don’t argue,” she says. “While I have respect for a daughter wanting to throw the item away, I explain that it’s wise to avoid a squabble to prevent her mom from feeling out of control.
“What’s more, assuming the role of intermediary takes pressure off families.”
Elaine’s responsibility, she says, is to listen and hear clients and gentle the process of letting go. This holds true even when working with clients who suffer from dementia. When she sits down with seniors for an assessment, she gets to know them. “Being respectful is first and foremost.”
Elaine is very purposeful in the way items that don’t make the cut are handled. Often, she calls in a provider to run an estate sale. Or, she suggests the client donate the items to charitable organizations. In this case, she says she works with clients to determine what charity or cause matters to them: among them, shelters for abused women; charities that support Veterans, families who require assistance and the homeless; organizations that recycle clothes for men and women who are job searching and need clothes for interviewing. “Seniors feel better when they know they’re giving a second chance to those less fortunate or enhancing the lives of others in need.”
Sometimes, when a loved one has passed, Elaine is called in to help a family organize and declutter items in preparation for an estate sale. “I approach this task and belongings with the same love and compassion I do when working with a senior,” she says. “Giving respect to their parents’ or loved ones’ belongings makes a family feel more empowered.”
But whether working with a senior currently in transition or preparing the belongings of a person for an estate sale, Elaine pulls out all the stops to get the job done right. She has a list of vetted preferred providers who can help with the various, specialized requirements of a project. Working as the team quarterback, she loops everyone in on scheduling and details to ensure the overall project progresses seamlessly.
Made for this work
Several years ago, health issues forced Elaine to take a timeout from her high-powered 25-year Wall Street career. She knew she was too young to retire, and a friend who worked as a marketing director in a senior residence, suggested she help the elderly transition from their homes to new quarters. “My husband and I were going on a pilgrimage of sorts to Europe. When we returned, a sudden surge of inspiration motivated me to follow my friend’s advice and set up the business.”
Elaine says her project management responsibilities in investment banking and her ability to multitask are integral elements of success in her senior relocation work. Systems and processes are important to making these transitions run smoothly which helps seniors maintain a sense of control.
But there’s much more to the story. A person of deep faith, Elaine approaches her work from that level as well. “I approach each job with a lot of love. I’m always empathetic, put myself in a senior’s shoes and consider how I will want to be treated when my time for a life transition comes.”
The rewards of her work are many. In addition to frequent client comments of “You’re an angel. I couldn’t have done it without you,” there’s the personal gratification.
“I’ve never looked back since I started this business. I’ve found my passion…and, it’s all about getting into a person’s heart and soul.”
Yes, we can. But your view of an item’s value may not be seen in the same way in the marketplace. The tastes of the younger generation are very different than ours. That is why fine china, crystals and furniture are not as valuable as they were when you bought them. So, we would take pictures and show them to estate auctioneers and internet auction houses to see who will pay the most for certain items. We also donate items to various nonprofits. These organizations will ensure that your belongings truly find a nice “home” and new owners who will treasure them. Another important point: These donations are tax deductible.
Yes. We can do everything except “load your boxes and drive the moving truck.” We will help find you an appropriate moving company and work closely with this mover to get your move done. We will start the sort process, prepare and pack for the move, oversee and manage the process until the very last box is gone from your new home and the last picture is hung. We can also help you unpack and resettle you in your new home.
Yes. We have Workers Compensation, Business Insurance to include General and Professional Liability and Fidelity Bonding coverage. In addition, all of our employees must undergo criminal background checks in order to meet the bonding requirements.
A combination of experience and hard and soft skills qualify me as a senior move manager. I have incredibly strong project management skills honed during my 25 years’ experience working in investment banking on Wall Street. I know how to develop systems and processes and institute them to manage a project efficiently and effectively. I am also a capable multitasker.
As important, are my soft skills: compassion, reflective listening, and understanding and respect for the clients’ life stories, the emotions they are experiencing about their move and the importance they attach to their current home and cherished belongings. My primary goal is to make individuals feel respected, understood and in control of the many decisions involved with the moving process—and at peace with their new life passage.
We are a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM.ORG) and are in the certification process.
We are very mindful of your budget and offer various service options. Our services can be comprehensive, in which case we’ll manage your move from start to finish. Or, you may decide to select only some of our offerings. Whether it’s teaching family members to start the process or making an action plan, we want to help you move. We provide a free 15-minute phone call to assess your needs.
We understand and respect that downsizing or any late-life move are overwhelming transitions. Therefore, we approach all our clients with love and compassion. We speak with you to assess the scope of work, establish a plan detailing the logistics of the move and help you stay focused to execute on the plan so that we stay on time and on budget and complete the moving process with efficient, effective outcomes. Our strategies are personalized to meet your unique needs, and we provide you encouragement and guidance to help you in your decision-making. We understand all the emotions that come into play during your transition period and strive to increase your sense of control and alleviate your stress, so you can look forward to settling into your new home.
We provide floor planning services to ensure that your furniture will fit in your new home. We measure the various pieces of furniture you want to move and evaluate their potential placement on a scale drawing of your new residence. Then you will sit with us and finalize a floor plan that suits your needs and purposes. This has proven to be of great value in helping people choose items that will be size- appropriate for their new home.
What about all the stuff that’s left in house that needs to be removed after we move and before the closing of the house?
We have various ways of providing a final cleanout of your home to make it “broom clean” for the closing. We work with many charitable organizations that sponsor donation drives as well as junk removal services. Your final cleanout could involve a combination of these services, depending upon the items that need to be removed.
No. Although the house is still yours, the setup of an estate sale can result in considerable stress. The house will be in disarray and not necessarily safe to live in because of the tables and supplies that need to be brought in for staging. It is best for you to move into your new home before the setup begins. During the sale itself, the client cannot be on-site. “Buyers” are less likely to buy if they realize the owner is present. Our experience proves that sales are better and the bottom-line increases when the client is offsite. The same is true for moves. The whole process moves more quickly with the oversight of our movers and staff. Not only can these situations beIt could be emotionally stressful and it’s not a physically safe environment.
Yes! Nationwide, we can coordinate with approximately 200 organizations that provide relocation services. We can pack and help you downsize here in New Jersey and then connect you to our network of Senior Move Managers to facilitate your move. They will meet with you and your parents and then help your parents settle into their new Arizona home.